Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Italy/France, 1961. Rome Paris Films. Screenplay by Jacques Demy. Cinematography by Raoul Coutard. Produced by Georges de Beauregard, Carlo Ponti. Music by Michel Legrand. Production Design by Bernard Evein. Costume Design by Bernard Evein. Film Editing by Anne-Marie Cotret. The Criterion Collection.
This is one of Anouk Aimee‘s most famous, image-making roles. She plays a gorgeous cabaret singer who is waiting for her sailor boyfriend to come home and claim her and their small son (he left while she was still pregnant and doesn’t know about him yet). The film concentrates on her friendship with a bored young store clerk (Marc Michel) who remembers her from their teen years and now finds himself falling in love with her. Aimee is divine in the lead role, a classic French icon if ever there was one, and the subplot involving a kindly American sailor and a acid-tongued fourteen year-old girl is equally delightful. Fans of The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg will definitely want to see it, as it is directed by Jacques Demy and scored by Michel Legrand (who used many of the melodies from this film as the basis for his work on Umbrellas), and features the same wide-eyed optimism that the classic musical did without any singing. Demy was one of the most charming filmmakers of the French New Wave, and Lola is quite possibly his masterpiece.